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Midlands Area Club
Thorpe Lodge
Sunday 13th February 2011
by Emma Forman

A large number of runners turned out at Thorpe Lodge on Sunday for the Midlands Area Club Point to Point races. 74 of the 120 entries were declared to run on a seven race card. The official going was good and a fair crowd braved the blustery weather.

Judy Wilson's Walter's Laddie was sent off the market leader in the first race the Castle Rock Mark Ashton Memorial Midlands Area Club Members Race. The King Of Angels and Richard Hunnisett made the early running but was let down by his jumping and fell four fences from home. At this point Pennytino and Nick Pearce were just getting into the race. Walter's Laddie ridden by Jonny Bailey tried to make a race of it and they were closing near the finish but the mare Pennytino got up to win by two and a half lengths. Richard Bowers' homebred is becoming something of a course specialist as this was her third win at Thorpe.

Following his fall from The King Of Angels, Richard Hunnisett was unable to take the mount on his other runner Van Ness in the Lincolnshire Meat Company Men's Open race, so Jonny Bailey deputised. Van Ness was in command at the head of affairs until Niver Bai and Alastair Ralph joined them three fences from home. Niver Bai took up the lead two out and was a length and a half clear at the last. After the race the winning owner Diana Ralph said that the key to this horse is to run him when fresh and indeed this was the gelding's first outing of the campaign.

The Jimmy Tarry trained Enigma Variations looked very impressive in the Midlands Area Trainers Intermediate race where he dominated from flag fall. The nearest rival Duke Of Kentford ran a good race but was ten lengths adrift at the finish. Enigma Variation's jockey Tom Ellis was very impressed with the gelding's third win from four starts over fences. This race is a qualifier for the £7000 3m 1 1/2f Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate Point- to- Point Championship Hunter Chase final to be run at Cheltenham on Wednesday 4th May. This horse will certainly take some beating if he lines up there and would benefit from faster ground which he may well encounter in May.

Another impressive victory came in the D & M Barthorpe Ladies Open race when the favourite Billyvoddan and Jane Williams scored by eight lengths from the The Hookie Bookie. When Billyvoddan made his move approaching the second last fence the race was soon over. Winning owner Juliet Minton said that the twelve year old has been rejuvenated by his partnership with Jane Williams and may well line up for the Foxhunter's Hunter Chase at Cheltenham. Killard Point ran well to finish third for Lucy Saunders who was having only her third ride in a race.

Ten horses went to post for the Sharp Nutrition Restricted race which resulted in a close finish between More Than Hopeful and Silver Tenor. More Than Hopeful disputed the lead early in the race with Antonia Bealby's other runner Harlaxton. However, it was More Than Hopeful and last season's leading novice jockey in the area George Henderson who went on with a circuit to race. Silver Tenor was closing at the line and the lightly raced Tinker's Burrow ran well to be third.

C & G Concrete kindly sponsored Division 1 of the Open Maiden race where the debutant Hazy Tom hit the front three fences from home. The gelding went on to win by two and a half lengths ridden by the owner's son James Horton who is a pupil assistant to trainer Sir Mark Prescott. After the race owner Charles Horton, whose five year old was bred in Ireland at the same stud as West Tip, joked that the horse had just come for a school round but his son couldn't hold him. This division of the race was run in the fastest time so owner Charles Horton collected the Open Maiden Trophy from Barbara Neal.

The Bookmakers sponsored the final race of the day; the Open Maiden race division two. Ivan's Back and Nick Slatter soon opened up what turned out to be an unassailable lead, going on to win by a distance from Action Steel and Tom Ellis. Ivan's Back may well be Nick Kent's final point- to- point runner as he expects to have a full trainer's licence in the next week. Nick's partner Jane will continue to train the pointers from a different yard at their Cadney base.

The next meeting at Thorpe Lodge is the South Notts Point to Point on Easter Monday – 25th April, first race 2pm.

The next meeting in the Midlands Area is the Blankney Point to Point at North Carlton on Sunday 20th February, first race 12 noon.

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